Archive for March, 2014
(Pocahontas) (AP) – Firefighters in Pocahontas say two people were killed in a house fire on the city’s south side.
The names of the victims of the Sunday night fire were not immediately released.
Fire Chief Jimmy Shields told KAIT-8 that the home and a vehicle were engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about 10:15 p.m. Sunday.
Shields said the cause of the fire has not been determined – but that it did not appear to be suspicious.
(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri drivers would not need to show birth certificates or other source documents when renewing their licenses under legislation passed by the state House.
The bill was approved with a 135-10 vote on Monday and now heads to the Senate.
Under the measure, only a reasonable belief of fraud could cause drivers to be required upon renewal to show license clerks documents that prove lawful residence and citizenship.
Supporters say the bill makes renewals easier and that drivers already had to show source documents to get their license the first time. Some opponents argued the measure could make it easier to commit fraud.
Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, is the legislation’s sponsor.
(Jefferson City) (AP) – When the 2010 census numbers came out, one thing was certain: Missouri would lose a seat in Congress. And because Republican state lawmakers controlled the redistricting process, it was almost equally as certain that the displaced congressman would be a Democrat.
Indeed, Democratic U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan found himself out of a job after the new maps were used in in the 2012 elections. Because of the redrawn districts, Republicans further strengthened their hold on Missouri’s congressional delegation while contributing to the GOP’s advantage in the U.S. House.
As Missouri’s eight members of Congress prepare to seek re-election this year, the effects of redistricting still can be seen. None of the incumbents appear likely to draw a stiff challenge, because they all represent districts tailored to their partisan bents.
Missouri’s redistricting results have mirrored what happened nationally.
As a result of victories in the 2010 elections, Republicans controlled a majority of state legislative chambers when it came time to redraw congressional districts based on the latest census figures. In many cases, they redrew maps to concentrate Democrats into a limited number of districts.
Nationally, Democratic candidates for the U.S. House received 1.4 million more votes than their Republican opponents in the 2012 elections, the first under the new districts. Yet Republicans won a 33-seat majority in the U.S. House.
In Missouri, Democrats went from holding three seats to two seats after the 2012 elections, when Missouri’s total number of districts dropped from nine to eight because the state’s population growth lagged that of the nation. Missouri’s redrawn congressional districts were enacted when the Republican-led Legislature got the help of a few urban Democrats to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
The two remaining Democratic districts – one in St. Louis, the other stretching from Kansas City eastward into some rural counties – have a higher concentration of Democratic voters than they did previously. The concentration of Republicans in the six other districts was diluted under the new maps but remains strong enough so that all of those districts still tilt toward the GOP.
Republican state Sen. Scott Rupp, who led that chamber’s redistricting efforts, said the high concentration of Democrats in the St. Louis district is partly the result of a federal Voting Rights Act prohibition against diluting minority votes. Blacks comprise 49 percent of the voting age population in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, compared with a 43 percent white population.
Rupp said the congressional districts also reflect a “migration of votes across the state,” in which Democratic voters have congregated in urban areas while Republicans have spread to the outer suburbs and rural areas.
“That’s just how it is. The whole state’s red and you have these blue earrings in Kansas City and St. Louis,” said Rupp, who lives in the outer St. Louis suburb of Wentzville.
But there were alternatives that could have given Democrats a better chance in congressional elections.
Political science professor David Kimball, of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, testified in 2012 in a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s redrawn districts. Although the Supreme Court ultimately disagreed, Kimball believes the districts are unconstitutional because they are not compact enough. He supported an alternative map that would have kept an additional district rooted in the St. Louis area. That might have given Democrats a better shot at winning a third seat.
But Kimball said he doubts redistricting made a dramatic difference on the nation’s public policy.
“If Republicans had not had control of the redistricting process in so many states, their majority would have been smaller than it is, but I think they still would have had a majority,” Kimball said.
(Jefferson City) (AP) – An ailing Missouri lawmaker’s bill that would prevent nursing mothers from being penalized for breast-feeding in public or being required to serve on juries gained final legislative approval Monday.
Legislative leaders moved quickly to pass the measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Rory Ellinger, of University City, who has liver cancer and has been unable to attend recent legislative sessions. Senators approved the measure 31-0 on Monday after it passed the House 150-0 last week. The legislation now heads to Gov. Jay Nixon.
Under the bill, nursing mothers could be excused from jury duty with a written note from a doctor. The legislation also states breast-feeding in public or private would not count as sexual conduct and bars cities from enacting ordinances to restrict breast-feeding in places where mothers and children otherwise are allowed.
Supporters said there have been instances recently in the Kansas City-area of women being called to jury duty while nursing. A trial judge has delayed collecting a $500 fine for contempt in at least one case until after the legislative session.
The state breast-feeding coordinator said breast-feeding can boost infants’ cognitive abilities while decreasing risks for obesity, diabetes and other health problems for babies and mothers.
Much of the legislative debate focused on Ellinger, 72, and his public service. He won election in 2010 and withdrew from plans to seek re-election this year while citing health reasons. He was hospitalized in March.
Republicans and Democrats praised Ellinger for his kindness and a commitment to issues about which he cared deeply.
Sen. Joe Keaveny, who handled the bill in the Senate and shared an apartment with Ellinger, said he probably was the Legislature’s most liberal member. House Minority Leader Jake Hummel called Ellinger a good person who will be missed.
“We truly appreciate all he’s done for us. He always makes us laugh. He’s light-hearted, but he’s also a serious individual that cares deeply about every one of his issues,” said Hummel, D-St. Louis. “And he never waivers from what he believes in and we truly appreciate that.”
Ellinger was the press secretary for Tom Eagleton when he was Missouri’s lieutenant governor and lost a 1972 election to a state House seat covering part of central Missouri’s Boone County by 870 votes. According to his biography, Ellinger marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery.
(Alton)- The Oregon County Sheriff’s Office transported 19-year-old Daniel Preston Lievsay of Alton from Oklahoma to The Oregon County Sheriff’s Office in Alton, Missouri on March 27, for a number of warrants.
Lievsay’s warrants include: failure to maintain financial responsibility, failure to register vehicle, possession of controlled substance except 35 grams or less of marijuana, unlawful use of a weapon, driver/front seat passenger fail to wear properly adjusted/fastened safety belt, exceeded posted speed limit, excessive noise from squealing tires, as owner or operate, authorize another to operating a motor vehicle w/out maintain financial responsibility, driver fail to secure child less than 16 years old in properly adjusted/fastened restraint, failure to register motor vehicle, failure to register motor vehicle, possession of controlled substance except 35 grams or less of marijuana.
At report time no other information on Lievsay had been released.
(Harrison) – Troop I of the Arkansas State Police has announced that there will be no driver’s license testing in the following counties on the following dates:
Marion County – April 11.
Boone County – April 3, from 1-4:30 PM. There will be morning testing on that date.
Boone County – April 7-10.
Searcy County – April 4.
(Van Buren) – Ozark National Scenic Riverways is planning to burn a portion of the Booming Shoals Prescribed Burn unit on Tuesday, April 1.
This prescribed burn encompasses approximately 35 acres of the Booming Shoals unit (which is 1,150 acres in entirety) and is located on the east side of the Current River, east of Powder Mill in Shannon County. The remainder of the unit will be burned at a later date.
Park visitors near Powder Mill or Blue Spring on the Current River, as well as those traveling on State Highway 106 may notice smoke from the prescribed burn. The Blue Spring Hiking Trail, which runs from Powder Mill to Blue Spring, borders the western edge of the unit. The road to Blue Spring (known as County Road 106-535 or NPS Road 165) travels through the center of the unit. The road and the hiking trail could be subject to closure during periods of the prescribed burn.
The Sheriff’s Office is notifying the public that a Level 3 Sex Offender (high risk to re-offend) has registered with the Sheriff’s Office and is now residing in Baxter County.
NAME: JASON PAUL HOHN
DATE OF BIRTH: 02/08/1981
HOME ADDRESS: 3230 Highway 5 South, Mountain Home, Arkansas 72653
The offender was convicted of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree on May 28, 2003. This offense involved the offender engaging in sexual contact with a 5 year old female.
This person is not wanted by law enforcement at this time. This notification is not intended to increase fear; rather it is our belief that an informed public is a safer public. This information cannot be used to threaten, intimidate, or harass Registered Sex Offenders. Citizen abuse will not be tolerated. Such abuse could potentially end law enforcement’s ability to do community notification.
(West Plains) – Ozarks Medical Center and members of the O’Neal family gathered on Friday afternoon to dedicate classroom space in the OMC Parkway Center to Graham O’Neal, a man who served OMC for many years before his passing in 2013.
Marge Slayton, Chair of the OMC Board of Directors, told those in attendance about the man:
She continued, saying that the hospital couldn’t think of a better person to dedicate the room to:
The classroom will host a variety of classes, seminars and events for OMC employees.
(West Plains) – The city-wide clean-up week in West Plains is coming up in April, and City Administrator Tom Stehn says that the event will be similar to last year’s:
If you have any questions, call the Sanitation Department during normal business hours at 417-255-2330.